Gordon Brown’s killer gaffe—and guess what issue set it off?

Britain’s Dead Prime Minister Walking has committed a stunning gaffe that reveals the total contempt for normal people and their normal concerns that defines left-liberalism. After a several minute long conversation with a middle-aged female voter and Labour supporter named Gillian Duffy, which ended with Brown patting her on the arm and praising her for her “good family,” he got into his car with his aides and, with the microphone still on, called her a “bigoted woman.” Her offense? Apparently she had, in the most mild way, expressed her concerns about immigration.

Benedict Brogan at The Telegraph has the whole story plus video, plus a lively comments section. Here’s another page with a slew of replays and discussions of the incident, including a TV interview where a humiliated Brown, his face hidden by his hands, is forced to listen to the tape of himself calling the lady bigoted, and tells the interviewer that “if” (!) he said anything offensive he apologizes; and a video of a smiling Brown speaking to reporters after a personal visit to Mrs. Duffy’s home where he spent 45 minutes with her and apologized to her in person.

Update: Here is a TV interview with Mrs. Duffy, a 66 year old widow and grandmother, who is clearly offended by what Brown said about her. She says she felt good about their conversation when it ended and was pleased by his answers. She says (at 4:30 in the video) that she wants to know why he called her a bigot.

Here is the complete Brown-Duffy conversation. I find it hard to follow. It’s mainly about economic issues. Immigration just seems to occupy a small part of it, when she says something about the number of Eastern European immigrants and seems to say that the number of immigrants is making it harder for English students to get admitted to university.

Lance Price, a pro-Labour columnist at the Guardian, views the incident as a total disaster for Labour and says:

Labour candidates—like those of all of other parties—will have encountered voters with genuinely bigoted opinions on doorsteps up and down the country. They are often racist, ill-informed and offensive. Gillian Duffy was none of those things.

The Sun (Australia) reports:

Mrs Duffy, a widow, said she was “very disappointed” with Mr Brown’s remarks.

After hearing what the Prime Minister had said about her, she said it was “very upsetting”.

She added: “He’s an educated person, why has he come out with words like that?

“He’s supposed to lead this country and he’s calling an ordinary woman who’s just come up and asked questions what most people would ask him—he’s not doing anything about the national debt and it’s going to be tax, tax, tax for another 20 years to get out of this mess—and he’s calling me a bigot.”

- end of initial entry -

April 29

Bob Vandervoort writes:

This flap that you wrote about at VFR about Brown calling the grandmotherly lady “bigoted” for opposing mass immigration is just great. What a meltdown for his campaign! And with what’s going on in Arizona, and the Democrats dropping the Schumer-Graham amnesty program … perhaps our “elites” are starting to hear the message? This story on Drudge, from the Sun, goes into great detail about Brown’s gaffe (here’s a snippet):

Mr Brown’s anger at the question and the resulting “bigot” slur was strange given he insists it is NOT racist to talk about immigration. In November last year, he said: “I have never agreed with the lazy elitism that dismisses immigration as an issue, or portrays anyone who has concerns about immigration, as a racist.”

Read more.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 28, 2010 08:55 PM | Send

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